A hallmark of YWCA Dayton’s shelter and housing programs is the ability to provide a one-stop slate of resources – and that includes everyday services like the seasonal flu vaccine.
“Our team works hard to remove any and all barriers that our clients and residents experience,” said Michelle Sayer, clinical director. “Things like access to transportation, social or medical anxiety, and mobility challenges are all reasons why offering flu vaccines onsite is not only helpful, it’s important.”
Many illnesses and diseases, including influenza, impact women especially. According to the World Health Organization, the outcome of infection is generally worse for females, and women are also more likely to be caregivers and work in child and health care, which may increase their exposure rate to viruses.
Another barrier many clients and residents experience is a lack of health insurance. Thanks to the Pay It Forward program at Westminster Presbyterian Church, those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a vaccine are able to receive one.
“We know how important holistic health is, from mind to body to spirit,” said The Rev. Susan G. Hamilton, pastoral affiliate for congregational care at Westminster. “The Pay It Forward program allows our church family to make sure those things are not just attainable for a few, but for all.”
Trained Rite Aid staff set up a mini clinic to administer the shots at YW’s central building, also allowing domestic violence shelter clients to maintain confidentiality and safety onsite.
In addition, parishioners of Westminster – a 2001 Women of Influence Lifetime Achievement Honoree – facilitate a regular ID services program also available to YW service recipients. Since 2009, they have helped our clients obtain state identification cards and birth certificates, both of which come at a cost that many clients can’t give when entering shelter, but are a critical step in securing employment, education, and access to additional social services.
“The stories we hear are amazing, and we feel blessed to have an opportunity to provide lasting help to those in need,” Hamilton said.